January 22, 2015, KLEINBURG ON—The mystique and spiritual power of the North are explored in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s new exhibition Northern Narratives, opening on February 14, 2015 and running until May 17, 2015. The show features seventy works, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, and prints that address the cultural interchange between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in the North. Also included are two film excerpts documenting Lawren Harris’s 1930 trip to the Arctic.

Works by members of the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, including Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Frederick Varley, and Sir Frederick Banting, represent the perspective of first-time, non-Aboriginal travellers who were driven north by a sense of the Arctic as an imagined, powerful place, while carvings and works of art on paper by Inuit artists such as Tim Pitsiulak, Kananginak Pootoogook, Pudlo Pudlat, Pitseolak Ashoona, and Napachie Pootoogook, give expression to traditional Inuit narratives about the land as a source of sustenance, spirituality, and interconnectedness.

Northern Narratives adds a new dimension to the major special exhibition Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012, on display in the McMichael’s upper gallery spaces from January 31 to April 26, 2015. Vanishing Ice, which originated at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington, offers a glimpse into the rich cultural legacy of the planet’s frozen frontiers as represented by an international selection of artists, writers, and naturalists over a period of more than 200 years. Northern Narratives, installed on the gallery’s main level, offers a uniquely Canadian perspective on the North, and highlights the works and lived experiences of the Inuit people.

“The breadth of Inuit artists’ imagery presented in drawings, sculpture, and prints not only illustrates the wisdom of their traditional cultural knowledge, but also provides a means to interpret contemporary experiences that have influenced the values and interests of the current generation of artists and northern communities,” said Chris Finn, McMichael Assistant Curator.

“Canadians have always felt a powerful connection to the North. It is part of our story, who we are,” said Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director and CEO of the McMichael. “Northern Narratives considers the various impressions and representations of the Arctic expressed by some of our country’s most important Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists. Their works have shaped and continue to shape our ideas about the North and our identity as Canadians.”

The McMichael is offering a full slate of programming in conjunction with Northern Narratives and Vanishing Ice, including the Vanishing Ice Festival running on Sunday, February 8 and February 15, and Monday, February 16 (Family Day) that features community events, including a snowshoe hike and an opportunity to see Melting Ice, a special installation on the McMichael grounds by Nepalese-American artist Jyoti Duwadi.

On Sunday, March 15 at 1:30 pm, the gallery will host a public talk by award-winning wildlife photographer Daisy Gilardini and internationally collected watercolourist David McEown, who have joined a combined thirty-seven expeditions to the Arctic and thirty-eight to Antarctica over the past decade.

On Saturday, March 28 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, Ryan Harris, senior underwater archaeologist with Parks Canada, will speak about his role in the recent discovery of the HMS Erebus, one of two ships that were part of the lost Franklin Expedition. For more information and to register for this talk, visit or call 905.893.1121 ext. 2209.

A media preview of Vanishing Ice will be held on Wednesday, January 28 between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. Members of the media wishing to attend are requested to RSVP to Rachel Weiner, Media Relations and Communications Coordinator at 905.893.1121 ext. 2210 or

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information:

Media Contact:

Rachel Weiner

Media Relations and Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2210